Research: Traveler Satisfaction With Airports Rises

Traveler satisfaction with the airport experience is on the rise, according to Collinson’s “Airport Journey” report, which surveyed 6,667 people across 11 countries in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC.  
According to the report, in 2019 63 percent of global travelers say they enjoy the airport experience, a jump of 13 percentage points from 2018, when only 50 percent of travelers said the same. However, there is a significant gulf between traveler satisfaction in Asia and the Middle East, compared to the U.S. and Europe. On average, three in four travelers (74%) across markets like India, China and the UAE enjoy the airport experience, compared to less than half (48%) across markets like the U.S., the UK and Germany.
The research also found that happy travelers spend more. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) travelers who routinely spend over $200 at the airport say the airport experience is an enjoyable part of the journey. On the other hand, the least satisfied travelers are also the ones who spend less than $28, amongst whom only 40 percent say they enjoy the airport experience.
“The staggering differences in satisfaction rates in Asia and the Middle East compared to Europe and the U.S. point to a variety of conclusions,” said Mignon Buckingham, corporate strategy officer for Collinson, in a written statement. “Asia and the Middle East are leading international tourism growth, with arrival numbers growing by 6 percent and 8 percent from January to June 2019, respectively. This boom in tourism arrivals and the regions’ growing middle class are major motivations for the development of new airports and the evolution of existing ones. Without the long-standing legacy infrastructure that other regions must contend with, airports in Asia and the Middle East can build ultra-modern facilities, cherry-pick best-of-breed features, and keep the customer experience absolutely central to it all. These are no doubt contributing factors to travelers’ strong enjoyment of the airport experience in these regions.”
Asia Pacific has been called the busiest area on Earth for airport development, accounting for 48.5 percent of global spend on airport upgrades and 57 percent of investment in new airports. Starting from scratch in very recent years means airports in Asia and the Middle East can leverage innovative design and offer seamless technology and services to passengers, as seen in some of the world’s top airports like Singapore Changi, Incheon International and Dubai International. On the other hand, airports in the U.S. and Europe must contend with how to update long-standing facilities to accommodate booming passenger numbers. Europe and the U.S. are home to the world’s 10 oldest airports, while the average U.S. airport is over 40 years old.
According to Collinson’s research, travelers want more opportunities to take control and create a smooth, enjoyable trip even before the journey begins, with nearly three in four (70%) saying they would consider pre-ordering food and beverage if the option was available. For example, DFW Airport in Texas is one of the U.S.’s oldest airports at 45 years old, yet still delivers digital-led experiences including food pre-ordering through a partnership with Grab
More than half (53%) of travelers who spend upwards of $150 on retail say they do not spend more because of baggage restrictions, and 39 percent would spend more if a delivery or collection service was offered. The travel retail app Inflyter is currently working to connect airports and duty-free providers to deliver services which will allow travelers to pre-order and collect duty-free purchases on their inbound journey or have them delivered to an airport lounge.

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